Learning The Power Of Blend Modes

Learning The Power Of Blend Modes

The power of Photoshop never ceases to amaze me as I continue to learn how to utilise it’s full potential. Over the years I have learned that a Lasso is not only associated with cowboys and that layers are not only associated with bricks, cakes, clothes and geology. However, I was completely in the dark when it came to Blend Modes, but we need to start at the beginning.

Layers were introduced into Photoshop a long time ago in version 3.0.1 and are definitely where the real magic of Photoshop happens and where most people start to learn and appreciate the power and creativity Photoshop can provide. Prior to Photoshop 4.0, you had to duplicate the original image first, in order to preserve the file if you wanted to edit non-destructively, but with the introduction of Adjustment Layers things have and continue to evolve.

Adjustment Layers have now become a key part of most photographer’s workflow and provide a way to edit non-destructively. When you add a new Adjustment Layer, it automatically adds a white Layer Mask (white reveals and black conceals)

I will be uploading a beginner’s guide video to Layers and masks with some other editing tips, but in relation to my own continuing Photoshop learning journey, I am currently on a Blend Modes curve.
What Are Blending Modes?
A Definition
A Blending Mode simply tells two layers how to work together to create a combined image. Photoshop will check any overlapping pixels between those two layers and then, depending on the blending mode you’ve chosen, decide how those pixels will blend.
I am no expert and am still learning myself, but have at least started to identify which of the blend modes work for me and what they do. PDF download link coming soon, that will provide a description of each of the blend modes and what they do which I think will help others starting out.

Over Thirty Years Of Amazing

Over Thirty Years Of Amazing

Regardless of your interest or skill level of photography Adobe Photoshop has become the most well known name of software as a graphics editor.

Photoshop was developed and published by Adobe Inc. for Windows and macOS and was originally created in 1988, by Thomas and John Knoll. Since then, the software has become the industry standard for graphics editing and digital art as a whole and we often take the creative power of Photoshop for granted these days.

In celebration of Photoshop’s birthday, Adobe has released many new features in Photoshop and made improvements too. So what is worth exploring?

Enhanced Content-Aware Fill
In this release of Photoshop, you can now iteratively fill multiple areas of an image without having to leave the Content-Aware Fill workspace window. After you get the desired fill result for a selection in your image, click the new Apply button in the lower-right corner to commit fill changes and keep the workspace window open. After applying the fill, use Lasso Tool or Polygonal Lasso Tool within the Content-Aware Fill workspace to make another selection to fill.

Improved Lens Blur Quality
The new Lens Blur alogorithm now uses your computer’s graphics card (GPU) to generate blurrier edges on objects that are in front of the focal plane, a more realistic bokeh look, correct color handling for CMYK and LAB color modes, and more colorful specular highlights in your photos.

Enhanced Transform Warp
With more control in the Warp tool, you can add control points anywhere or divide your image with a customizable grid. Then transform by individual nodes or a larger selection.

Object Selection tool
Create fast and precise selections by drawing a simple rectangle or lasso around an object. Then let Adobe Sensei do the rest.

Performance Improvements
Photoshop’s user interface is now more responsive to your mouse and stylus movements. You’ll notice smoother panning and zooming in your documents. With increased responsiveness to your inputs, you’ll also notice improvements in many other UI interactions, especially where painting or dragging actions are involved.

Free Photoshop Trial

Adobe Photoshop 2020

Adobe Photoshop 2020

Thirty years ago Photoshop made its first appearance on the computer and is without a doubt the industry standard. The new desktop update packs in lots of new and enhanced features, definitely a lot more than last year’s version, so I thought I would highlight a few of my favourites.

Improvements that the Adobe team has added using their Sensei technology of artificial intelligence and machine learning- particularly new capabilities in the Object Selection Tool and Content-Aware-Fill are simply amazing.

Select Subject gets better edges, is faster on a Mac (mine anyway) and they have managed to reduce the size of the Sensei AI machine learning model on disk without reducing quality. 

Content-Aware-Fill Enhancements

Adobe, have added three ways to identify where in your image you want it to look for source pixels as fill content.

  • Auto: intelligently select source pixels by analyzing pixels near the selection
  • Rectangular: Chooses pixels nearby
  • Custom: gives you full control. You identify exactly which pixels to fill from

Object Selection Tool

This tool has been promoted to the top spot under the magic selections tool icon. Using Sensei AI machine learning enables you to automatically select single, multiple or parts of objects in an image; speeding up complex selections.

Better Auto Selections

The Select Subject command has been enhanced, due to Adobe Sensei – their name for the artificial intelligence that allows Photoshop to analyze an image and guess at what you want to select and from experimentation, its very good.

What else’s is new in Photoshop 2020?

  • Properties Panel with repackaged top tasks into a central location
  • Redesigned Present Panels (although users can revert back to Legacy settings!
  • Smart Object Convert to Layers
  • Enhancements to Warp Transform
  • Lens Blur addition
  • Adjustment layers for curves and brightness/contrast for 32-bit images
  • Consistent Transform Behaviour
  • Smart Object and Layer Comp Tracking

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